By Martin J. Kidston
The man accused of firing the gun that killed Kristi Walker and Kevin Caplette in September entered a Havre court Wednesday morning to plead innocent on all counts filed against him.
Accompanied by his attorneys, shooting suspect Reid Danell, 18, entered the 12th Judicial District Court to appear for his arraignment in front of Judge John Warner.
Charged with two counts of deliberate homicide, two counts of intimidation, one count of tampering with evidence and one count of felony theft, Danell pleaded innocent to all charges. If convicted he could face the death penalty.
Warner set Danell's omnibus hearing for Jan. 18 at 9 am.
In a docket filed on Oct. 14, 1999, Danell admitted to Hill County Prosecutor David Rice of "shooting and killing Kristi and Kevin."
The docket reads that Danell "drew a diagram and indicated where the shootings occurred and the body placement after the shooting. His diagram was consistent with the physical evidence."
Evidence suggests that Danell and his accomplices, Jacob Spang, 18, and Francine Spang, 15, attended a party held at Walker's residence in the early morning hours of Sept. 16, where they were seen holding a gun and heard talking about "what it would be like to shoot someone."
As the party dwindled down, Walker left the residence in an effort to collect $800 from various friends. She returned some time after 3 a.m., at which time Danell allegedly held a gun to Caplette's head and demanded money and keys to his car. When Caplette refused, Danell shot him several times. Danell then followed Walker into a bedroom, where again, he demanded money and keys to a car. Walker gave Danell money before he allegedly shot her.
Danell, Jacob Spang and Francine Spang then allegedly stole a vehicle from the residence and fled the scene, discarding evidence en route to the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation. The trio then attempted to clean the car before Danell and Jacob Spang fled to Great Falls. They were arrested the following night at the Highwood Motel. Francine Spang turned herself over to police.
Danell's arraignment made him the last of the three suspects to enter a plea. All three suspect have pleaded innocent to all counts against them.
After Danell's arraignment on Wednesday, Caplette's wife of six years, Cindy Caplette, said she had met Danell on one occasion in early August, nearly a month before Danell allegedly shot and killed her husband.
"Danell didn't have to kill him," Cindy Caplette said tearfully. "I don't know how I feel right now. He shot them both for $800. I hope he gets the death penalty."
Cindy Caplette said that when she met Danell, "he had an attitude, and called himself an outlaw. He was bragging about getting out of the Pine Hills Correctional Center."